Dr. Babatunde Adejare, Lagos State Commissioner for Environment, has responded to claims by the association of PSP (Private Sector Participant) waste operators that the state government is planning to displace them, or replace them with new operators.
This is coming on the back of media reports that the operators instituted a suit against some ministries and agencies within the state government, urging the court to uphold and protect their existing rights.
In his response, the commissioner allayed the fears of the operators by assuring that the safety and wellbeing of the people of Lagos is a top priority of the Akinwunmi Ambode led government and noted that the state will not do anything that is not in the collective interest of the people of the state.
According to him, “We are all cognizant of the numerous challenges that have plagued our state sanitation system in the state, and the call for an urgent and intelligent solution to the perennial problem, which have not only had destructive impact on our environment, health and lives. To address this, our administration took a decision and determined efforts towards water, sanitation and hygiene in the state”.
“To activate this in a manner that protects and guarantees the rights of the people, we started the Cleaner Lagos Initiative with a Stakeholder Engagement Programme. Over the last 10 months, we have taken a holistic approach to identifying the unique problems, and have focused on creating a framework for a sustainable integrated waste management system”.
“We sought and obtained executive council approval to carry out a full review in conjunction with the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Justice. We put the existing laws and policies under a microscope, reviewed them to reflect that sanitation becomes a high-priority activity in the state and is treated as a non-negotiable requisite in Lagos”.
“Consequently, we came up with strategies for regulation, enforcement and most importantly financing, to support the Cleaner Lagos Initiative, which was birthed from the results of this process”.
The Cleaner Lagos Initiative was created as an extensive and sustainable waste management system for Lagos to maximize the state’s potential in solid waste management with recycling, recovery and waste reduction efforts, liquid waste management, drainage management, and waste water treatment.
The initiative also seeks to fully develop sufficient infrastructure for collection, proper processing and disposal of all waste to meet the state’s environmental objectives.
More Information about the Cleaner Lagos Initiative
The first phase of the initiative, tackles solid waste management, which is in a clear state of crisis due to the moribund supporting infrastructure that must be beefed up- bin placement, transfer loading stations, material recovery facilities and of course landfills. The current arrangement is highly cumbersome, and LAWMA in its role as a regulator is expected to coordinate the activities of 350 individual companies and still carry out its own collection services. Revenue generation is extremely difficult because of the complication that arose from the billing system, occasioned by the disparity and discrepancy in charges and waste collection routes.
In September 2016, the proposed concept of operations was unveiled at a stakeholder’s meeting presided over by Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode personally in which it was explained that LAWMA would no longer be working as an operator and would be taking on its regulatory role while the residential waste collection and the supporting backbone will be concessioned to foreign investors. All the challenges concerning the landfills and the transfer loading stations would be addressed through this arrangement.
The PSP operators were made to understand that the new operational plan allows them to compete within zones for the 10,000 commercial customers and businesses that operate within the city. They were also briefed that the funds allegedly being owed would be addressed through a recertification and revalidation process (commencing February 2017). They were additionally urged to form strategic partnerships that will give them the numeric strength and capabilities to compete under a competitive integrated system
There is no gainsaying the positive impact that PSPs efforts have had over the years on the Lagos landscape is undeniable. That being said, the quantum and scale required for managing the waste of 22 million people cannot be achieved with a proliferation of small scale operators. We have sought to accommodate them through the categorisation of specialist sectors such as medical waste, hazardous waste, construction waste- areas that will accommodate the existing operators provided they can nimbly adapt to international best practices. Furthermore, their revenue sharing agreement with LAWMA is being abolished. Instead of remitting 40% of their income to LAWMA, they will merely be paying a regulatory fee of 1.5% of revenue.
We look forward to engaging them further as we all work to make Lagos a cleaner, flood free and beautiful State. We encourage all citizens to visit www.cleanerlagos.org to find out more.